Why farming ?

Just like anyone else who chose to work in a bank or to be a mechanic, to be a police(wo)man or teacher, one has chosen to be a farmer.

On one hand there are people who have been farmers through generations & on the other end of the spectrum there are now people like us who have not inherited land & are not from farming communities, but still have chosen to do farming. It is a choice that we are making. (‘though many people around us cannot make any choices in life). Farmers who have inherited land are “rooted” to their land, however they are facing the issue with their younger generation who due to various (internal & external) factors have been weaned away from farming. The present generation which is still farming is really sitting on the edge of a cliff. With steepling price rise it is difficult to pump in some capital into their land to make their farm lands economically viable. They are completely dependent on the rains. If they could invest for a water source, they could be taking multiple crops for 12 months, then the scene would be so different.

It’s a different & very difficult situation for people like us who end up buying land to farm. Land is a very, very expensive commodity. So taking the plunge is almost like closing your eyes & diving into water without knowing how to swim.

Locating a piece of land which one likes is very critical, so is the effort in raising the required budget to buy the land, after that one needs to have the capital to invest in the land. Labour, dwelling, water source etc each of these are extra-large voluminous chapters in itself. Building a dwelling will be about 6 – 10 lakhs INR, finding a permanent water source & establishing the irrigation system would also cost 7 -10 lakhs INR. Labour costs will be to the extent of 2 lakhs INR per year. These are huge numbers & just writing about it makes me go weak on the knees & very nervous, in fact very worried. For the first few years it is obstacles, obstacles & more obstacles. Now even after four years my obstacle race isn’t over, i can see so many more obstacles lined up in front of me.

For us with our limited budget & a dream to have a river, forest trail etc adjoining the land we had to go straight into the interiors to find a piece of land of our choice. So it meant bad (no) roads, no public transport, no reliable electricity supply, no phones, no internet connections etc. The nearest market is 16kms away !! Even though i am a loner & i hardly ever open my mouth, sometimes even i feel good to have a few friends close by & just chilling together. For sure someday things will change for the better. “Someday” we will reach there & to reach that “someday” one needs to be a marathon person & just keep doing what one is doing. Even if these aspects of life doesn’t fall in place in this lifetime, its ok. Our children will surely get to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

Recently there was a meeting of people who were inclined to do farming & i was also called for it. If i had to speak i would’ve said all the above & i felt i will be painting a very negative picture, so i decided against going. I know for sure one of the questions which will be addressed to me: “Do you earn enough from farming” ? And my answer would be “Beggars earn more than me”. Again i will be putting off people.

This reminds me of Nadine Gordimer, when she said “I’ve failed at many things, but i’ve never been afraid.” Now this is something very true of me; i do not experience or know what fear is. Yesterday while driving to the farm i was listening to a few podcasts about Palestine. I was thinking of one of my friends in college, he was from Palestine, he was the No 10 of our football team, he was a brilliant player & one of his dreams was to represent Palestine. After reading this i wonder where he is now. Palestine is a country which i always dreamed of visiting, to see & touch those 5,000 year old Olive trees, to walk & live with Bedouins for a year or so & become as tough as them with their extraordinary survival skills. Now Palestine has been clinically taken out of the world map isn’t it ? Not surprisingly one of my favourite writers is from Palestine & it was while reading Edward Said that i came across Nadine Gordimer. Unfortunately their voices will be no longer be heard. Since not a single so-called world leader has said “enough & stop” to Israel, one can conclude that NATO & the Heads of state of the world powers are the present day Bin Laden’s. They are spineless, shameless, gutless, inhumane & do not even wink for a second while unleashing every possible weapon of mass destruction which is at their disposal. They looted us for centuries (East India Company & their ilk), twisted history to their convenience, they are the murderers & torture experts of this world. We also have one in the helm. I feel ashamed.

Closer home the landslide & the deaths in Malin village in Ambegaon taluka made headlines. Yes, there was very heavy rains. However was the rains the cause for the landslide ? Was this landslide a natural disaster ?

The answer is No.

Without an iota of doubt, one can say that it’s the irresponsible & continuous use of earth movers (read JCB’s) to level the land which caused the land slide & the deaths of more than 150 people. Even where our farm is located; people are obsessed with the use of earth movers. People do believe that it’s the modern day god of farming. Beautiful pristine hill sides are levelled out, stone pitching is never done, all native trees, shrubs & grasses are uprooted, removed & thrashed, top soil & sub soil gets washed away & then people start to farm……. WTF.

Welcome to the world of land slides & deaths. When the mourners & the dead are the same, then the present day emperors descends in their SUV’s, adorned in their “extra double pure nirma-white” coloured starched kurta – pyjamas & white shoes, exactly like the story which we grew up hearing of the “Emperor’s new clothes”. The emperors in this moment of grief convinces the mourners to believe that its actually a natural disaster & instantly the media parrots them.

Job well done isn’t it ?

It’s during these times that i find the peace & tranquility of our farm so beautiful. Quietly work, grow one’s own food & be happy.

Peace, love & btw thats why !!